Milk a Terrorism Threat?

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed an “intentional adulteration rule” which requires that domestic and foreign food facilities address risks of contamination that could occur by intentional acts of terrorism.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has asked the FDA that dairy farms be exempted from the intentional adulteration rule, arguing that because pasteurized milk goes through so many processing steps it would be a poor choice for intentional adulteration.

“In considering whether activities that occur on dairy farms represent a high risk for intentional adulteration, FDA concluded fluid milk storage and loading in a dairy farm operation pose a significant vulnerability,” wrote Beth Briczinski, the Vice President of Dairy Foods and Nutrition at the NMPF. “However, for a number of reasons, we disagree with the premise that on-farm milk destined for pasteurization is a high-risk food and, therefore, we maintain that activities on dairy farms should not be addressed through this rule.”

“Raw milk that is produced for direct human consumption and not destined for pasteurization should not be exempted,” NMPF noted.

NMPF also submitted comments to the FDA in conjunction with the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) arguing that food defense and food safety should be regulated differently. The deadline for the FDA to issue its final ruling in response to these comments is May 31, 2016.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Vermont Farmers Can Now Deliver Raw Milk at Farmers Markets

A Vermont law that went into effect on July 1, 2014 allows farmers to deliver raw milk to customers at farmers markets, making it more convenient for busy consumers who can’t always find the time to travel out to the farm.

The law does not allow the sales of raw milk at farmers markets; it only allows buyers to pick up the milk they have previously purchased. Furthermore, the law requires that potential customers first make one visit to the farm they’ll be buying from – after the first visit, the customer can purchase from the farm without going in-person.

Allowing delivery (and, hopefully in the future, sales) at farmers markets is an important opportunity for small farmers looking to expand into larger markets. One state dairy farmer expressed disappointment in the law, saying he had hoped it “…would allow him to pick up new customers at the farmers market, not just at his farm.” Still, he recognized the law as “…baby steps for making raw milk more easily accessible to consumers in Vermont.”

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Dairy Farmers of America Settle Lawsuit Alleging Conspiracy to Drive Down Raw Milk Prices

On July 1, 2014, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and its marketing branch Dairy Marketing Services (DMS) have settled a five-year lawsuit that alleged the organizations conspired with Dean Foods to manipulate raw milk prices in the northeast United States.

According to DairyReporter.com, “DFA was accused of ‘tying up access to milk bottling plants’ in the Northeast ‘through unlawful exclusive supply agreements.’ As a result, independent farmers in the region were forced to join DFA or market their raw milk through DMS.” This allowed DFA to drive down raw milk prices paid to dairy farmers, increasing profits for themselves and Dean Foods – between the two of them, they processed approximately 90% of bottled milk in the region at that time.

As part of the settlement, DFA and DMS are required to pay $50 million in cash compensation and a series of “meaningful non-monetary benefits” to the dairy farmers who brought this class action lawsuit, but are not required to admit any wrongdoing.

Although it is good news that the DFA and DMS are being held responsible for their actions, this lawsuit and its settlement without admission of wrongdoing is a sobering reminder of how Big Dairy is threatening independent dairy farmers across the country – regardless of whether they are trying to sell raw milk to bottling plants for pasteurization or direct to consumers. It’s also a reminder of the importance of supporting local farms by buying directly from them whenever possible.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Raid on Co-Op Delivery Truck Leaves Michigan’s Approach to Raw Milk Unclear

On July 15, officials from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) stopped and searched a My Family Co-Op delivery truck, ultimately forcing the co-op to dump 248 gallons of raw milk and 1,200 organic eggs.

MDARD told the co-op’s director, Jenny Samuelson, that they were looking for raw dairy products other than milk. Raw milk sales in Michigan are banned except through herdshare arrangements like My Family Co-Op, which operates a herdshare with a local farm to provide raw milk, meat, eggs and honey to 600 local families. In March 2013, MDARD adopted a policy formally endorsing raw milk through herdshares but this policy excluded non-milk products.

The circumstances surrounding MDARD’s search and seizure of the My Family Co-Op truck are unclear and contradictory. Samuelson says the truck was pulled off the road for failure to have a food handler’s license that would allow her to sell the eggs and honey as a retailer – but Samuelson points out that she does not need a food license to deliver members’ products. MDARD placed some raw milk under seizure without offering explanation as to why in this statement:

“MDARD did place a seizure on illegally processed and distributed raw milk products that are not covered under a herdshare agreement. As part of our due diligence, some raw milk was placed under seizure as we work through our investigation regarding the illegal processing and distribution of raw milk products. My Family Co-Op herdshare members may still obtain milk directly from the farm while MDARD completes its investigation.”

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Is the Decline in Raw Milk Enforcement a Change of Heart or Change of Tactic?

David Gumpert, author of The Complete Patient blog, points out that there seems to have been less crackdown on raw milk farmers lately, but speculates that this due to a change in tactics rather than a change of heart.

Gumpert believes that “…regulators and their corporate overseers came to the conclusion that going after small farms with buying clubs and herdshares wasn’t good public relations…in fact, it was disastrous public relations. What this means is that we haven’t seen the end of pressure on small farms, simply a change in tactics.”

One such change in tactics, he guesses, is that the US Food and Drug Administration will ramp back up enforcement under the guise of the Food Safety Modernization Act. There will likely be other additional changes in strategy so while small farmers can seemingly take a breath for now, he writes, “we wait for the other shoe to drop.”

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Is Mainstream Media Reaching a Tipping Point in the Dietary Debate?

Thirty years after TIME Magazine cover “Cholesterol…And Now the Bad News,” the magazine’s June 23, 2014 issue featured a cover titled “Eat Butter: Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.

The article doesn’t focus solely on butter but rather encourages readers to rethink how saturated fats fit into their diets, saying scientists were wrong to label saturated fats as a dietary evil. The article acknowledges a growing body of research that places blame for the United States’ obesity and diabetes epidemic on processed foods, sugar and carbohydrates.

J. Stanton, author of The Gnoll Credo and paleo diet enthusiast, points out that “the contents of the article won’t be a surprise to anyone in…the WAPF [community] or anyone who has taken the time to evaluate the science and statistics on their own: thirty years of low-fat dogma has produced a nation fatter and sicker than ever, and the ‘science’ supporting the dogma wasn’t science at all.”

This story follows Mark Bittman’s highly discussed op-ed “Butter is Back” in The New York Times. Taken together, the two might be indicative that mainstream media is reaching a tipping point in the debate about dietary guidelines and whether Americans should turn away from processed, low-fat products back to wholesome, natural foods.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Maine Farmer Loses State Supreme Court Battle

On June 17, 2014, the Maine Supreme Court issued the final word in Dan Brown’s 3-year legal battle against the state over his right to sell unpasteurized milk. The Court ruled in favor of an April 2013 district court summary judgment that ordered Brown to stop selling raw milk, rejecting Brown’s arguments that the state shouldn’t be allowed to change rules that originally guided the establishment of his business and that a local town ordinance exempted him from state regulations.

The state “…contends it has an obligation to set reasonable standards to ensure milk is safe and that the standards must apply to even the smallest farms” (WCSH 6).

Read a more in-depth summary of the state Supreme Court decision here.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Minnesota Judge Declines to Punish Dairy Farmer

Sometimes the biggest indicator that cultural change is on the way is when law enforcers start to look the other way. Coming on the heels of high-profile articles that praise full-fat, natural dairy products (including Mark Bittman’s proclamation that “Butter is Back” in The New York Times) and the proposal of 2 federal laws to end federal crackdown on the distribution of raw milk, a Minnesota judge has declined to punish a farmer for selling raw milk and violating his parole.

In 2012, dairy farmer Michael Hartmann pled guilty to selling unpasteurized milk and was given probation, which he violated by continuing to sell. In June 2014, the judge in Hartmann’s hearing stated that “the defendant had made a ‘good faith effort’ and ‘no further action’ would be necessary.”

Hartmann’s case is still ongoing with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture but he and his family see this as a court victory.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Disturbing Statistics Show Dairy Products Are Fake in Many Parts of the World

In the country of Georgia 10 out of 15 dairy products are fake, often made of vegetable oil instead of animal fat, according to the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG). It’s legal – despite international standards, which prohibit the sale of products made with vegetable oil under the name of milk and dairy products.

“Falsification of milk is a crime to me,” says Eter Sarjveladze of the CSRDG. “Milk is a major food group for children, milk can replace any other product, while no other product can substitute for milk. It includes all the substances that are essential to the human body and easy for digestion. Milk includes more than a hundred components that are vital for normal human development. The consumer spends money for this, in belief that he purchases a very useful product, but then gets a poison.”

Following a December 2013 report by the CSRDG that revealed that 90% of milk and dairy products made in Georgia are based on vegetable oil, the government took steps to create new definitions and quality standards.

In the meantime, Georgian consumers are left with an unfortunate alternative: to purchase milk from local villagers whose cows might be infected by tuberculosis. One Georgian citizen asks “which is better: tuberculosis-ridden milk that is boiled, or fake milk made from vegetable oil?”

Disturbingly, this system of fake, devoid-of-nutrition “dairy” products is not unique to Georgia. An article from the Fall 2013 issue of Wise Traditions titled “The Great Milk Robbery” provides fascinating in-depth coverage of how corporations are misleading and cheating the world’s poor out of fresh milk.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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Federal Ruling Gives Qualified Nutrition Professionals Access to Hospitals

Patients are now afforded a bit more flexibility in determining the type of nutrition provider they want overseeing their care thanks to a recent federal ruling that gives all qualified nutrition professionals, not just Registered Dietitians, the right to provide nutrition services in hospitals.

In May 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued “…a final rule that a variety of nutrition professionals can independently order therapeutic diets in hospitals, serve on hospital medical staffs and provide telehealth nutrition services.” Previously, only Registered Dieticians (people who have completed the academic, exam and supervised practice experience approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a private trade association) were able to work in hospitals.

The ruling states: “We agree that a more flexible approach would be the best way to ensure that patients benefit from the improved quality of care that these professionals can bring to hospital food and dietetic services.”

This ruling is victory for both nutritional professionals and patients who believe in wholesome, traditional foods that might not be fully embraced by the mainstream. It legitimizes alternative nutrition professionals, who will now have access to hospitals and the freedom to operate outside of strict bureaucratic guidelines in order to provide patients with the best possible care.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  westonaprice.org/lab

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